Random Thoughts... [Entertainment Edition]

maxtortheone

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Yep, great movie. Saw it a week and a half ago and The American on the same day. Also a good movie
 

SchumacherM

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The ending was the cherry on the top. Machete will return with...Machete Kills...and....Machete Kills Again. xD :lol: Great evening, no question.
 

jedd_kenobi

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The ending was the cherry on the top. Machete will return with...Machete Kills...and....Machete Kills Again. xD :lol: Great evening, no question.

followed by Machete kills everyone... Machete kills himself and then the one banned by the religous lot, God, Muhammed and Machete kill everyone in the afterlife.
 

Clockwerk

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I just got done watching the first episode of the Sky show "An Idiot Abroad" and I cried with laughter the entire episode... I love Karl Pilkington. :rofl:
 

jedd_kenobi

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i've never understood the need for Micro-transactions. i've always preferred the WoW method and things being unlocked. it becomes a incentive to keep playing and a reward for playing. having everything straight up front would surely just ruin the length of the game. it would only be a matter of time until burnout occured.
 

maxtortheone

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Well, the items in the packs do randomly drop in game but there's hats that were incredibly rare that now are for sale.
 

Matt2000

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I was watching some 'Is it a good idea to microwave this?' videos yesterday and an advert played for a film called 'Jackboots on Whitehall'.


A satirical alternative history of World War II where the Nazis seize London and England must band together to prevent a full on invasion.

It's probably not to everyone's taste but I personally think it looks pretty good. Released next Saturday.
 

Ramseus

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Fox succeeds again! I was confused about where Human Target went... Lonestar got cancelled after its second episode and they're not even going to bother to air the rest of the series so they chose to change Human Target's timeslot and now it's not starting until the end of November (what they're doing in the two months in the middle I don't know). Way to go, fox!
 

Strelok16

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I was just glad to find out they hadn't cancelled that as well, myself. When I flipped on the TV to kick back and enjoy an hour of fighty, explody goodness, only to see a House rerun, I was like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YOU FUCKERS ARRRGH IM NEVER WATCHING FOX AGAIN! those good-show-cancelling BASTARDS!

I mean, I did know it had been renewed already, which meant it wasn't likely they'd change their mind and dump it at this point, but hey, this is Fox we're talking about, the biggest ratings whores in the world. I wouldn't put it past 'em.


At least the new Good Guys that was on after the House rerun was good.
 

GRtak

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Hopefully, he will pull the stick out of his ass and return to being funny.
 

Ilpav

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It has Shia Thebeef in it... :yucky:
 

Labcoatguy

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If they ever re-remake Thunderball, the Emilio Largo character ought to be seen first in a Land Rover Discovery and then a classic Aston Martin convertible. Voila, Disco and Volante.
 

Red_Bull

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I went and saw Tomorrow When the War Began last night. It's based on the John Marsden book where if you went to high school in Australia you would've been forced to read it and probably enjoyed it before realising 'hey learning can be fun after all!' At least that's what they wanted you to think. I dont remember much about it though. It follows eight teenagers who go on a camping trip and while they're away their miserable little town gets invaded by a foreign force and they have to lean how to escape, fight back, and generally survive.

The movie version was written and directed by Stuart Beattie of 30 Days of Night or Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl fame, and it's actually rather good...for an Australian movie. That last bit really means 'well I guess I better say I like it because it's Australian and I'd feel guilty if I said it was rubbish, but quite honestly I'd rather be watching Will Ferrel or someone'. But this one isn't too bad. It actually looks like a big budget American movie and not the jumped up extended TV soapie Australian films tend to be. There's some very good action sequences and the whole thing is directed and balanced pretty well so that it keeps the viewer engaged through out. Only the dialogue leaves room for improvement. There was a scene where the main lead Ellie tried to justify her killing of an enemy soldier. It was supposed to be all deep and meaningful but the shoddy dialogue cancelled that out.

The acting is quite crap though. The film relies on no name actors and actresses which works in a sense because it's more believable as we're supposed to believe these are just normal teenagers and that it could've been anyone. But the performances they deliver are varied from quite good in parts (the people who played Ellie and Homer weren't too bad) to complete crap such as the guy who played Lee (I guess there's a reason why they're unknown). I even recognised one of the guys from Home and Away which is a bit of a worry. The characters are diverse in their nature; farm girls, sporty sports captain, dopey idiot, mysterious generic Asian bloke, religious nutjob, crackhead, and dizzy beauty queen. Such a group of people wouldn't work in real life teenage Australia, but lets not worry about that. Their character development is alarmingly quick as well. They go from simple rednecked God fearing farm types to unstoppable killing machines capable of taking out a semi professional army platoon with a few rifles, engaging the enemy in a car chase involving the world's most armoured rubbish truck, to blowing up a bridge with a herd of cattle and a petrol tanker.

Where the movie really falls down though, is the ridiculous plot. It isn't even the fault of the movie as the plot is the same one carried over from the books. Ultimately the teenagers have to destroy a bridge that links Cobblers Bay where the invaders landed, with Wirrawee, the small country town I mentioned above. The bridge is the only link across a river that is allowing the enemy to supply their ground troops from the ships in the harbour. Obviously the first gripe is why the fuck would an invading force choose such a bay where the only link between the bay and the mainland is a vulnerable, one laned bridge. They didn't plan that very well. Australia has several thousand kilometres of coastline, so why choose a port with only a single bridge? The movie mentions two other bays where the enemy landed troops as well, but Cobblers Bay was to be the main point of attack. With it's pissweak bridge. But we'll run with that for the time being. Wouldn't they then go about defending it to the hilt? AA guns, trenches, sentries, all the sort of stuff one needs to defend a bridge from an air or ground attack. I had to laugh because when the teenagers were discussing what needed to be done and came to the conclusion that the bridge needed to go, one of them, Homer, the one who looks 30 as opposed to 17, goes 'I bloody hate that bridge'. What the damn hell? It's only a bridge FFS, designed to make your life easier. I mean, I dont go hating on the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

Also, the movie mentions how it was a coalition of Asian forces who invaded the country, who apparently raided old East European battle dress stores from the 1940s before embarking on their attack. It makes no mention of names (Beattie didn't have the balls to go and outright name the countries involved) but presumably China are the driving force behind the attack given they're the only Asian country that has a credible army (and lets ignore the minor fact Australia has very good relations with China). The invading force consisted of ships, fighters and army troops on a large scale. Where do you hide that sort of attack force on the islands surrounding Australia? I would certainly think ASIO would be wondering what the bloody hell was going on and maybe send some men in to have a poke around? Where was the Australian Defence Force? What about our allies such as the US and the UK? Also in the two days they had to prepare before the teenagers returned from their trip, they were able to set up slick looking prison camps with guard towers, sand bags, search lights, etc. Too bad they didn't put the same sort of effort into the defense of their bridge.

That all said though, it wasn't too bad. For an Australian film. I just cant think it would be terribly enjoyable for people aged between 20-30 (ie, people who grew up with the books) given how the movie glosses over the emotional and drama aspects the books managed to capture so well. The action sequences ensure it's not boring but it could've been much better.
 
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jedd_kenobi

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bit of interesting reading found on kotaku

Who's going to fail in video games? Business blogger Nicholas Lovell has his opinions. It's a provocative list. See if you agree...

When I wrote my post-mortem of RealTime Worlds, some people called me brave.

I thought I was cowardly, given that I only expressed my concerns after the company went into administration. And it's very easy to carp with hindsight. I did say that APB risked being an epic fail a year ago, but I very much hedged my bets.

So I'm going to stick my neck out. I'm going to name ten games businesses or projects that I think are in trouble without some radical changes. Not all of these will fail: I'll be wrong about some; others will change course. What I am saying is that I have concerns about the strategy, opportunity or market for these companies.

I have not had access to any of these companies. If anyone wants to set me straight on any facts I have got wrong, do feel free to get in touch.

And if you disagree with any names, or think I've left out some important ones, let me know in the comments.

1: Codemasters
thumb160x_codemasters.jpg
Codemasters is riding high on the strength of a UK #1, but I feel that on a global stage it is a low-ranking games publisher that has lost its way.
The company has a successful racing studio, is a provider of publishing services to MMOs owned by other people and operates a casual games portal. It is not a global leader in any of these areas, and will continue to be squeezed from all sides.
I believe that this current industry transition ? from boxed products to services ? will make it impossible for a boxed product publisher without a strong portfolio of AAA games to survive. I don't believe that Codemasters has that portfolio, and it will struggle to adapt fast enough.
It ought to identify what it is good at, and do that really well. I'm not sure that's what I'm seeing.

2: Miniclip
image.png
Miniclip used to be the darling of investment bankers everywhere. I never had a meeting with one where they didn't mention this company with awe. Unfortunately, at just the moment that Miniclip's arrogance peaked, the market transformed around them.
Miniclip was one of the most successful online games portals in the world. The company was instrumental in the early success of Club Penguin and Runescape ? and deeply resentful that they didn't share in the rewards when those companies were acquired or invested in.
I even heard (although this is uncorroborated) that Miniclip was asking for equity stakes in companies whose games they distributed, so bitter were they in their belief that Miniclip was the fundamental reason for the success of those browser-based games..
Miniclip showed shockingly poor timing ? these increasingly aggressive negotiations started just as two things emerged that jeopardised it;s very future: Facebook as a rival form of distribution and virtual goods as a better type of revenue than advertising. (You can read more on my views on portals at The death of the portal.)
I'm not sure that Miniclip is doomed, but I think that its glory days are behind it. The era when a portal with many users and an advertising sales force could dictate terms to developers is gone. Miniclip will probably survive, but the likelihood of an exit for hundreds of millions of dollars is vanishingly small.

3: Milo
OK, this one is now a no-brainer, since they cancelled him last week. But my notes for this post (which has been in gestation for several months) read:
-Pointless
-Overblown
-Unlikely to see commercial release
In some ways, I think this is a shame. Milo is closer to scientific research than game development: he was about doing something just to see if it could be done, not because it made any logical sense.
The games industry has lost that spark, that desire just to do something to see if it could be done, that can-do attitude that spawned Asteroids and Doom and iShoot.
On the other hand, I think Milo made no sense. He was an over-promise to consumers, he was a distraction from Kinect and, in the near term, a gaming dead-end.
I don't think he'll be missed.

Virgin Gaming
image1.png
I saw the announcement about the launch of Virgin Gaming and thought to myself "not again."
When will investors learn that betting on yourself in a video game is nothing like tournament poker or a friendly wager on a game of golf. Gaming is so dependent on skill that betting on yourself is, frankly, stupid, unless you are one of a handful of top players in the world.
Every time a new one of these pops up, I quote Tom Jubert writing in the GameShadow blog:
"Gambling works because it's based on luck. no matter how aware of the growing hole in our pockets, we keep playing because were addicted. We're addicted to the chance we might win big with the next set of cards.
In an FPS, as some investors may not realise, success if heavily based on skill. That means if you're a loser, you're a loser ? there's no chance of ever making it big. As a result, the weaker players don't bother, while the stronger have no one to compete against."
And it's not as if there haven't been others:
-Tournament.com: went bust in November 2007
- Kwari: went bust in June 2008
- Prizefight: disappeared
- Titan Gaming: raised $1m in May 2010, although I remain sceptical about their prospects.
Why do these business keep getting funding? As I said in my post on the Titan funding, I think it's because the majority of investors are alpha males, who believe that everyone wants to back their skill with cash (which is, after all, the primary job of an investor).
I just think that they're wrong.

5: Trion Worlds
Dear Lars Buttler, senior management and investors in Trion,
I applaud your ambition. Your desire to "revolutionize the way connected games are designed, developed, and delivered" is wide-ranging and far-reaching.
Unfortunately, while you were busy investing $100 million in your revolution, a bunch of other people went and revolutionised the way online games are designed, developed and delivered.
And it's not in the way that you expected.
Jagex made RuneScape ? a game with ten million users and a million subscribers ? in a browser. Unity democratised the development of browser games. Bigpoint proved that you could generate revenues of tens of millions of euros or more from a business based around free-to-play and virtual goods.
Meanwhile, RealTime Worlds proved that an ambitious MMO based on an understanding of the games world anchored in 2005 doesn't work.
I may be wrong about you. You may have fully understood the changing dynamics of online gaming, learned the lessons of RTW's demise and Dungeon & Dragons Online's Damascene conversion to free-to-play. You may have a game that combines a World of Warcraft killer with a RuneScape killer.
But I fear, like a First World War general, you are fighting the battles of a previous century. And you are about to get bogged down in the Somme.
I'm sorry.

6: OnLive
Is this cheating? The failure of OnLive seems so inevitable it seems lazy to include it in this list.
The company is trying to create a subscription service to access product-style games. Just as the market is changing to have fewer AAA titles, OnLive wants to charge us to have access to its service, and then to buy the games. (UPDATE: Since I first drafted this, OnLive announced it was dropping the subscription charge. I think this is a good move, but I imagine it blows a hole in their financial projections.)
As I argued in April 2009, OnLive needs to gather all of the most-have content into its service in order to be competitive. That means getting EA and Activision and Square Enix and Disney and Warner's content into their system. (Getting Sony and Microsoft's content is a whole different ballgame).
Then they have to persuade legions of core gamers to drop their fanboi console allegiances and switch en masse to a subscription service.
And it has to make them ignore the risk that if OnLive goes bust, all of their games disappear.
And they have to do all of this when new business models ? free-to-play games, games as a service, microtransactions ? are coming to the fore.
So far, I don't think it's been going well. Onlive has dropped a core revenue stream. It's had to give up equity in order to secure distribution in the UK. It's struggled to convince sceptical pundits.
Meanwhile Gaikai, with its lean startup approach and less-grandiose claims seems to be making progress with a business model that is flexible, scalable and doesn't require retail distribution.
A year ago, I said that OnLive only had two potential acquirors: Sony and Microsoft. If I were the investors in OnLive, I would be hustling for the door.

7: CCP
CCP are the Icelandic developers of Eve Online, the mind-bogglingly intensive MMO set in space. It has committed fans, a strong revenue stream and has been running Eve successfully since 2003.
How can I possibly think the company is doomed?
Well, to be truthful, I don't think it is. I think it has a perfectly good future as a lifestyle business (I don't think it's sellable ? though that's a topic for another post).
But Dust 514, on the other hand, there's a product that's doomed.
I used to be an investment banker and one of the first rules drummed into me was this: "If you are going to advise someone to make an acquisition, suggest buying a business they understand in a new country, or a new type of business in their own country: buying into a new sector in a new country is a recipe for disaster."
The people at CCP are experts at building a free-form space game with a subscription model on the open architecture of the web.
Dust 514 is a first-person shooter.
On a console.
With a never-done before connection between a console world and a PC MMO.
It's wildly ambitious but also, in my view, totally pointless. The integration between the console game and the PC-based MMO will be as unnecessary and expensive as the film maker in The Movies or the customisation features of APB.
It will be hugely difficult to implement, actually subtract from the gameplay experience and cause CCP endless headaches.
I was terrified when I saw the presentation of the game at a conference earlier this year. Every fibre of my being screams that CCP is over-reaching wildly.
I hope that I'm wrong.

8: 38 Studios
Is it cynical of me to say that the main reason I've put 38 Studios in this list is *because* the Rhode Island Board of Economic Development has approved a $75 million loan to the company?
Regular readers will know that I believe that governments should not be giving tax breaks to risky commercial enterprises such as game developers. They certainly shouldn't be giving them to business investing in highly-speculative, unlikely-to-succeed activities like creating a World-of-Warcraft-beating MMO.
To compound my scepticism, 38 Studios is the baby of Curt Schilling, a celebrated Red Sox baseball player. Could the kudos of rubbing shoulders with a famous sportsman have influenced the Rhode Island bureaucrats?
(To be fair to Mr Schilling, he is clearly a committed MMO player who loves the market; I nevertheless fear that, like Trion above, 38 Studios is pursing an old model, with taxpayer's money).
In the end, launching a new MMO is a massive bet. I'm pretty safe in betting that it will fail. A very few new MMOs succeed massively (only World of Warcraft leaps to mind). A few fail spectacularly (Tabula Rasa, APB). Others just drift along (Age of Conan, Champions Online, Star Trek Online).
The odds of being a success in launching a traditional MMO are stacked against you. Far more likely is that you will lose your shirt.
Even a jersey as celebrated as that worn by Mr Schilling.

9: GAME
Picking on a retailer seems a bit mean. It's like finding a fat kid lying in the dirt, having been pushed over by the cool kids, and kicking them. Just because you can.
But I believe that there might be a future for a dedicated games retailer. They just need to look very different from how they look now.
The challenge facing games retailers is simple: in the future, there will be fewer products for them to sell.
Games are going increasingly online (and mainly as services, not as digital downloads). There are fewer AAA releases and many fewer single-A releases. Console cycles are lengthening. The primary reason for a specialist games company to exist ? to sell games ? is disappearing.
There is a silver lining. For some time to come, there will be physical consoles and devices to connect humans to television screens. These need a retailer. There will be AAA blockbusters, and they need a place to showcase their product. There will be some people who prefer to pay for online content by going to a store and handing over cash rather than using a credit card online.
But to succeed in this era requires reinvention. It requires making stores into appealing destinations in their own right (much like the need to reinvent the physical cinema in the 80s and 90s). It requires a mentality shift from being product-centric to being customer-centric. And it requires the rapid shedding of many stores and staff, because there is no way to sustain a shop (or two) on every High Street.
It is not yet game over for GAME and other specialist retailers. But they only have one life left

10: Call of Duty Subscriptions
Bobby Kotick was asked by the Wall Street Journal what one thing he would change about his company if he could snap his fingers and make it happen. His answer:

"I would have Call of Duty be an online subscription service tomorrow"

I can see why. World of Warcraft is a subscription service and is generating a billion dollars a year. I can see why Activision would like to build the same with Call of Duty.
Of course, they are very different beasts. World of Warcraft offers a myriad of play styles ? from crafting to guild membership, from exploring to raids. The flexibility of a first person shooter is, frankly, much lower.
We saw what happened when RealTime Worlds tried to turn Counterstrike into an MMO. We saw what happened when Richard Garriot tried to build a new approach to MMO fighting with Tabula Rasa. Converting Call of Duty into an online game sounds very tough to me.
There is one massive caveat here: I'm talking about the Western world. I think that there is potential to offer Call of Duty with a totally different model in China and other territories where piracy is dominant. So I'm not saying that there won't be a Call of Duty Online service anywhere in the world.
I just don't think it will be successful in the West.

Original Article: http://kotaku.com/5657970/10-games-businesses-that-are-doomed

I can agree with Codemasters and GAME. The one thing that truly surprises me is the concept of a Call of Duty Online. I don't mind Call of Duty, but it doesn't have the pull over me that other Online games have, specifically World of WarCraft.
The day Kotick's mad scheme gets approved will be the day that i stop playing Call of Duty. Its a FPS, the MMO type doesn't work. there is no skill involved and no variety either. At least with WoW you had the chance to go a different class and try something different.
Kotick needs to be fired from his job before he truly does terminal damage to the video games industry. i honestly think its only a matter of time until he comes up with a concept that could bring storm clouds.
 

maxtortheone

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Kotick is perfecting what other publishers did over the years: take all of the developer's passion and creativity for making a game and transforming it intro a profitable business. Remember the times when titles were the fruit of programmers and artists' love for what they made? Those day are gone, at least for the big titles/developers/publishers (with maybe an exception or two). I foresee indie titles getting more mainstream and popular and companies trying to make you pay for a PC FPS's multiplayer getting boycotted.
 
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